TSU20-61
Smithsonite var. Manganoan Smithsonite with Pyrite
$2,400.00
Small Cabinet, 5.8 x 4.7 x 3.3 cm
Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Oshikoto Region, Namibia

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A rich specimen of one of the absolute rarest varietals of smithsonite in the world, whose color is owed to Manganese within. Numerous "disks" of pink Manganoan Smithsonite grace the edges and front of this attractive small cabinet specimen. The individual Manganoan Smithsonites are disc-like, flattened rhombs and every one of them are transparent to translucent with good luster and a very pleasing pastel pink color. They are intergrown along the ridges of the piece and a few small clusters and isolated crystals are present on the front of the granular sulfide matrix substrate. The other side of this small cabinet piece is almost entirely covered in Manganoan Smithsonite. The crystals are in excellent condition with only very small areas displaying minor trivial bruising that is barely evident. Aside from Manganoan Smithsonite being rare from Tsumeb, this specimen may be remarkable for another reason. The bulk of this piece, on which the Manganoan Smithsonite has grown, consists of abundant granular and microcrystalline Pyrite and if you look at the overall outward shape of the Smithsonite substrate, it is tabular and appears hexagonal or pseudohexagonal. Based on the literature, iron isn't abundant in the Tsumeb system and Pyrite is supposedly not common, but I have seen granular Pyrite in the matrix of many specimens, such as this one. I'm going to stick my mineralogical neck out here and suggest that the major portion of this piece is a Pyrite pseudomorph after Pyrrhotite, although Pyrrhotite hasn't been reported from Tsumeb either. There is also an admixture of a fine-grained copper sulfide with the Pyrite. We'll see if the new owner comes to the same or different conclusions!

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